Four Stages Of Person’s Life (Indian)


According to Ancient Indian Hindu culture, there are four stages of a person’s life which are known as Ashramas. They are Brahmachari (student), Grihasta (Householder), Vanaprasta (ascetic in semi retirement) and Sannyasi ( a renounced person in full retirement). Each stage has different principles. The four stages are considered as stages of Preparation, Production, Service and Retirement.

Brahmacharya (celibate)

The first stage is “Brahmacharya” includes a student and generally lasts for 25 years of age from birth. The responsibility of a student is to study. For a Brahmachari, celibacy (maintaining singleness) should be strength, discipline should be the standard, service to Guru should be duty and concentration in studies should be the profession. The young male leaves home and stays with teacher and gains both spiritual and practical knowledge. He is trained for his future profession, in addition for his family, social and religious life ahead.

Grihastaashrama (House holder)

The second stage is “Grihasta” which implies a House-holder generally between 25 and 50 years of age. This stage begins when a man gets married, and takes up the responsibility of earning for sustenance and supports his family. At this stage, the activity of wealth is very essential. The Grihasta earns his livelihood by doing work that matches his group, raising children, and performs religious or spiritual practices to help others. Usually people of other three stages heavily depend on the Grihasta for support and maintenance required to perform their respective duties. In real life, people love this ashrama, so Grihastha stage continues for whole life.

Vanaprasta ashrama ( the anchorite)

Vanaprasta is the third stage of senior advisor generally between 50 and 72 years of age. This stage begins when his responsibility as a householder ends, become a grandfather, his children become adults, and have well settled lives of their own. At this age, he should abandon all physical, material and sexual pleasures. He should retire from his social and professional life and should spend his time in prayers. He should maintain little contact with the family. This kind of life is actually very harsh for an aged person. Today, this stage is almost extinct.

Sannyasa ashrama ( the renounced)

Sannyasi is the fourth stage meaning Ascetic or Solitaire life, indicating complete detachment from materialistic pleasures including the essential requirements of living. This is the last stage, generally after 72 years of age. At this stage, a man should be completely devoted to God. He has no home, no attachment, and has abandoned all desires, fears and ambitions, duties and responsibilities. He is basically combined with God, all his relationships are broken, and his sole tries to attain moksha. No one is promoted to become a ‘Sannyasi’ without going through one’s natural feelings of the three previous Ashramas. Person who escapes from marriage (Grihastashrama) is considered as a coward quitting the battle field.

The focus of brahmachari is on healthy, positive training and discipline, learning about spiritual aspects, community, and family life. The focus of Grihasta is on giving, living, learning, and to remain loyal in family and community. The focus of vanaprasta is mainly on inner spiritual methods of meditation, contemplation, and prayer. Sannayasi will not have political, professional, or social engagements and becomes an elder teacher of spiritual knowledge. The first stage is a preparation for life whereas the last stage is a preparation for death. Although these stages are mainly designed for the male, females also have an important role to play in each one of them.

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Eight Stages Of Person’s Life (Western)

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